Background and History
Colby Cave is another undrafted player. He was signed by Boston after a promising year in the WHL with the Swift Current Broncos. However, unlike Logan Day (22nd on the list) Cave has actually played in the NHL. At 24 years old, Cave hasn’t managed to stick in an NHL line up for an entire season yet, but his 2018-2019 season looks promising. In the last season, Cave played 53 games at an NHL level – split between Boston and Edmonton. His outlook for the 2019-2020 season is equally promising.
The Oilers claimed Cave off of waivers from Boston in January 2019; he spent the rest of the season on the Oilers roster and wasn’t sent down to Bakersfield. Cave collected 8 points in his 53 NHL games, which aligns pretty well with his relatively low point production in the AHL. His best season with Providence was 35 points in 76 games.
Why He Made the List
Cave is an interesting player in that he doesn’t seem to have a high ceiling, but he made an NHL lineup. This marks him as different from the majority of free agent signings which have potential, but will most probably never make it past the AHL. Cave is also a useful player in the Oilers system. He may be less useful after the numerous bottom six players the Oilers have acquired throughout the summer, but as a centre he fills a need for the Oilers.
Cave is in the last year of his current contract; he is RFA at the end of the season. He may be motivated to make something of a big splash in this last year. The Oilers also claimed Cave for a reason in January – he filled a need in the Oilers system. He also made a positive impact on the Oilers in January. He has the potential to make a positive impact again come the fall. He also has more NHL experience than the majority of the players on the Tope 25 Under 25 list. That’s a big bonus for him. He needs to use the final year of his contract to prove himself.
Cave will need to produce a few more points to show some progression. Cave’s point production – three goals and five assists – isn’t very impressive. However, if I consider the quality of the Oilers over all, it’s not surprising that Cave didn’t produce very much.
Why He Made the List at 17
I honestly can’t say Cave is at 17. If you look at the rankings, everyone at Copper and Blue had him at a lower number. The general consensus is 18. Except Matt. Matt likes to be contrary. I guess we’re just more divided on other people and so Cave’s overall total rises.
Cave hasn’t produced a lot during his time in the NHL. He hasn’t been able to stick in an NHL line up for a complete season so far, and he hasn’t had amazing point production at any level of his career. At 24, it looks doubtful that he’s suddenly going to develop a level of play that hasn’t been seen before. In general, this is a huge area of concern for the Oilers.
Cave is less concerning in this way because he is in the final year of a relatively cheap contract. This might have also helped raise his Top 25 Under 25 stock. His bottom six production will cost the Oilers a lot less than some of their signings from the 2019 off season. And, bonus, he was claimed off waivers and so didn’t cost the Oilers another player or prospect who might have had a higher ceiling.